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Botswana Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Botswana, go to the Religious Records page.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

An estimated 77% of the country's citizens identify as Christians. Anglicans, Methodists, and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa make up the majority of Christians. There are also congregations of Lutherans, Baptists, Roman Catholics, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Dutch Reformed Church, Mennonites, Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses in the country. [1][2]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Different denominations, different time periods, and practices of different record keepers will effect how much information can be found in the records. This outline will show the types of details which might be found (best case scenario):

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

In Catholic and Anglican records, children were usually baptized a few days after birth, and therefore, the baptism record proves date of birth. Other religions, such as Baptists, baptized at other points in the member's life. Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name



How to Find Records[edit | edit source]

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Watch for digitized copies of church records to be added to the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Botswana.
b. Click on Places within Botswana and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. See Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.



Anglican (Episcopal) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]


Anglican Diocese of Botswana
Plot 5349 Church Road, Ext 10
PO Box 769
Gaborone, Botswana

Email address: info@anglicanbotswana.org.bw
Phone: (26) 7395 3779

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Catholic Church in Botswana is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in the Vatican City. Catholics represent about 5-6% of the total population. Initially Catholic missionaries were not allowed in Botswana by native tribes at the urging of Protestant missionaries who arrived first. Missionaries began to work in Botswana in 1928, and were noted for setting up schools and clinics. The church in Botswana is organized into the Diocese of Gaborone, which serves the southern portion of the country, and the Diocese of Francistown, which serves the faithful of northern communities.[3][4]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Online church information is available to current members, deceased members, and immediate family members who are still living. Sign in to FamilySearch and then select Family Tree in the drop-down menu.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Total Church Membership: 3,524. Congregations:15.
Missionary work in Botswana began in 1990. Among the first converts was Kwasi Agyare Dwomoh, an architect from Ghana working for the Botswana government. Dwomoh was called as the first branch president in 1991. A branch is a small congregation. He later became the first district president in Botswana. By March of 1992, the fast-growing branch was ready to be divided into two branches as the membership had grown to 160. And in 1992 a third branch was organized in the city of Lobatse.[5]

Dutch Reformed Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Dutch Reformed Church in Botswana was founded by Swiss missionaries led by Rev. Henri Gronin begun working in 1863 among the tribe Bakgatla, Kgafela in Saulsport and Rustenburg in South Africa. In 1870, part of the tribe moved north to Botswana and the missionaries followed them. The great chief was baptized and most of the tribe followed him. In 1966, when Botswana become independent, a Synod of the Reformed Church was formed. In the 1970s, the church gained independence. The church in the following years expanded to Basarwa, Bakalanga and Bakgatla.

The denomination has 6,000 members and 13 parishes with 50 house fellowships in 2 presbyteries and one Synod. The 14 churches are in : Muchudi, Muchudi East, Muchudi West, Sikwane, Gaborone, Tlokweng, Lobatse, Kgalagadi, Ghanzi, Maun, Makaleng, Selebi Phikwe, Boseja (Mochudi).[6]

Jehovah's Witnesses Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Botswana is an Evangelical Lutheran church in Botswana. It has a membership of 22,000, and has been a member of the Lutheran World Federation since 1986. It is also affiliated with its regional expression, the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa.[7]

Mennonite Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Brethren In Christ Church
Plot 38817 Block6, Tlokweng
Gaborone, Botswana

PO Box 81207
Gaborone, Botswana

Phone number: 392 8492

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

​Mennonite Central Committee began work in Botswana in the 1970s, providing schoolteachers and training in job skills. As a result of friendships with local African-Initiated Churches,Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission - with which Mennonite Mission Network is a partner--was invited to send Bible teachers. Beginning in 1975, six Mennonite denominations have sent workers to Botswana. In addition to Bible teaching among African-Initiated Churches, these workers are involved in AIDS education and counseling, community development, youth ministry, friendship evangelism, teaching and issues related to families.[8]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

METHODIST CHURCH OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
Plot 3178 Ext12
P.O. Box: 260
Gaborone, Botswana

PHONE:+267 3167627 or +267 3162281
FAX: +267 3167627

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

See, The Development of Methodism in modern-day Botswana: 19th century Nationals in Mission?

Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The presence of Orthodox Christianity in Botswana is a recent event. Orthodox Christianity missionary efforts in Botswana began in the late twentieth century under the jurisdiction of the Church of Alexandria. Currently, Botswana is within the local jurisdiction of a new diocese, the Holy Diocese of Botswana.

The Diocese of Botswana was a part of the Archdiocese of Zimbabwe until it was detached on October 7, 2010 and placed under the leadership of His Grace Bishop Gennadios of Nilopolis. Bp. Gennadios was enthroned as the first Bishop of Botswana on June 2, 2012 by Pope Theodoros II of Alexandria in the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Gaborone, Botswana.

Communities of the diocese include the Church of St. Nicholas (including the chapels of St. Parthenios Bishop of Lampsakos and St. Peter Archbishop of Alexandria) in Gaborone.[9]

Serbs in Botswana constitute one of the nation's larger immigrant communities, and are primarily found in and around the city of Gaborone.

The first waves of larger-scale Serbian immigration to the country occurred in the 1950s, with immigration continuing to the present day. The community of Serbs in Botswana is an active one, and regularly hosts events at the Serbian Society, which is a cultural center catering to the needs of Botswana Serbs.

Serbian Batswana also have two Serbian Orthodox churches in Gaborone, the church of Saint Sava and the church of Saint Nicholas, construction of which began in 2016. The Saint Sava Orthodox Church operates a school for Serbian Batswana to teach children the Serbian language and culture.[10]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Recently the number of Pentecostal churches has been rising. A strong revival has been going on and most churches conduct all-night prayer meetings. In these meetings the prayer requests include the leadership of the country and all the ministers in the body of Christ. Some of the churches include Pentecostal Protestant Church, Assemblies of God, Apostolic Faith Mission, Eloyi Christian Church, Pentecostal Holiness Church, Dutch Reformed Church in Botswana, Good News Ministries, Christ Embassy, Bible Life Ministries, Victory International Centre (VIC), First Love Church, to name but a few. [11]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

United Congregational Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Congregational Church in southern Africa was founded by two strands – one from Europe and one from America.

The London Missionary Society (LMS) founded the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa in 1799 with the arrival of Dr Johannes van der Kemp and his team. Most of the early missionaries of the LMS came either from the Reformed Churches of northern Europe or the Calvinist atmosphere of Scotland.

Dr John Philip, superintendent of the LMS in South Africa, invited the first party of the American Board missionaries (ABM), led by Daniel Lindley and Newton Adams, to come to South Africa in 1835.[12]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Botswana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Botswana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Botswana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Botswana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Botswana, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Dutch Reformed Church in Botswana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Reformed_Church_in_Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Evangelical Lutheran Church in Botswana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Lutheran_Church_in_Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  8. "Botswana", Mennonite Mission Network, https://www.mennonitemission.net/Impact/locations/africa/Botswana, 21 March 2020.
  9. "Botswana", OrthodoxWiki, https://orthodoxwiki.org/Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Serbs in Botswana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serbs_in_Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  11. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in Botswana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Botswana, accessed 21 March 2020.
  12. "South Africa Synod, United Congegational Church of South Africa, https://www.sasynod.org.za/about-sa-synod/history.html, accessed 21 March 2020.